A bit of my Jewish sideTransition.
For the past few weeks I've been struggling to deal with the chutz laaretz reaction to Sharon's plan to walk away from gush katif. As I've written earlier, there seems to be an attitude of "It's not our issue" and "We need to support the freely elected Israeli government." This shabbos I was in Sydney's northern suburbs and in shul, before the prayer for the IDF the rabbi said a few words. To paraphrase his words and also what I took away:
"This week will be a difficult one for all of us. We need to feel the pain of the thousands of Jews who are being taken from their home that they have known for a lifetime. We also need to pray for the soldiers who are being charged with this task of removing them. Whether we agree or disagree with the decision, we pray there will not be Jews fighting Jews." I found, with some sense of wonder in myself, I agreed with him. By now, we have done what we can and the outcome is in the hand of our creator. My only prayer at this point is that what ever the outcome, it should be peaceful. Whether the soldiers and the homeowners hug each other, cry and then together walk out of the house, or whether they sit down and say "I can't do this". Please God, let one of those images, whichever one you choose, be what the 2800 foreign journalists send out to the world, not one of Jews fighting their brothers.
Tisha B'Av in the winter. 12:00 was chatzot. I felt I hadn't said enough kinnot yet. I would have been fine continuing for a few more before stopping but the tzibbur stood up and started singing through Alei Tzion(traditionally the last of the Kinot) in the usual tune. Did you ever notice that when you pick up the pace it's even quite cheery? As we're zipping through the kinah, with my mind still processing the earlier ones, I found myself a hair away from banging on the bima for every one to stop. I wanted to ask "Do you understand what you're saying?" To read out a few lines in English of what they were all joyously singing. "For the pounding and the numerous blows... and for the smashing on the rock of her infants and youths." How were they able to sing an upbeat to such horrifying words? Even after the kinnah was finished I was going to say somethings but Ashrie and Aleinu...
Standing on the side while everyone else was saying alenu I was bothered by the shift; I hadn't finished my "morning".
But maybe that's the point of Alei Tzion. Even though the words describe the horrors of the churban we all stand up and sing because all of these troubles are "Tzireha - birth pains". Yes, we suffer but we also see the light ahead. And whether we want to shift or not, the service is set up in a way that we must.
And so in the afternoon we don't say kinnot, we don't sit on the floor. We clean the house and pull ourselves (by hook or by crook) into a mindset of Moshiach. We are told that Moshiach is born on the 9th of Av. This is that afternoon.
"Sasson v'simcha yimatzei bah, todah v'kol zimra"
"Joy and gladness shall be found there,
thanksgiving and the voice of song."